Local physical therapist says Paul George’s right leg will be stronger than it was before

Posted: August 4, 2014 in General, NBA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Doctors and trainers tend to Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George last Friday night
during the U.S. men’s national team’s scrimmage at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Photo courtesy of Cassy Athena/www.cassyathena.com

W.G. Ramirez

So I purposely took my time in penning my final thoughts on last week, specifically the Paul George situation, so I could listen to everyone speak on it Monday morning.

I’m done listening, and I think part of my ear drums hurt. They may be bleeding.

I’ve heard enough.

The one person who made the most sense was Freddie Coleman, on ESPN’s First Take, and I lend credence to the worldwide leader’s Brian Windhorst since he was here all week, saw what happened first hand and was at the hospital reporting overnight and first thing Saturday morning.

But those with remarks like: “Someone has some questions to answer” about the Thomas and Mack Center and how the court was laid out, or “NBA players should not be competing internationally” need to give it a rest.

Freak. Accident.

Rare. Occurrence.

The last time we saw something like this was when Louisville’s Kevin Ware broke his leg on national television during the  NCAA Tournament. But prior to that, can anyone remember such a thing taking place? This is not something that is unavoidable, or something you think about when constructing a court, or practicing for a game.

You get taped up to avoid sprained ankles. You don’t necessarily think about avoiding compound fractures.

The relationship between the NBA and USA Basketball would not be in question if George didn’t break his leg. Instead, we’d be talking about how well Derrick Rose played, and the fact he looked fantastic in the first quarter and how he was the crowd favorite.

Fact is, Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, George’s family and the rest of the national team were saddened, the one person who was upbeat throughout the weekend and had the most positive attitude, was the person with a rod and screws in his leg. George, though he reportedly couldn’t believe it happened, told visitors and social media he would be fine and would bounce back stronger than ever.

That won’t be until the 2015-16 season. But he will be back.

Joe Rainone, co-owner of Tim Soder Physical Therapy, said George should have no problem returning to the court, it’s just going to take some time.

“You don’t see that many injuries like this,” Rainone said. “I’ve seen more than 1,000 or 1,500 football games – I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this. Look at all the basketball injuries you see, I’ve never seen an injury like that. I’ve seen plenty of ACLs, I’ve seen a ton of ankle injuries, but I’ve never seen something like this.”

He added that George was extremely lucky to have no damage to his ankle or knee, which will make the healing process much easier.

“With the way his leg went, you just don’t know,” Rainone said. “Whether it’s the ankle or knee, you’d think he had to have more damage than that. But everybody heals at a different rate. They say four to six weeks, but some don’t heal as well as others – some heal sooner.”

Rainone, who has treated many professional athletes from Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA and PGA Tour, said with as clean a break as George’s appears to be, and because doctors can use x-rays it makes it easier to determine when you the NBA All-Star can begin physical therapy, as opposed to an ACL tear in the knee.

“The nice thing with the bone is you can see the healing process,” he said. “Not only looking at the bone, but you’re looking at the hardware too, to make sure the progress is coming along.”

Rainone said it’s very rare that screws will loosen, but that can happen. And the only time they go in to fix the hardware or take it out is if it’s shiftmatic and there is metal rubbing against anything, it’s not sitting right or causing irritation.

“This is one of those injuries that if you have money and the right people around you, it’s going to expedite things for sure,” Rainone said. “The most likely thing is if everything goes extremely well – and they just need to go well – I say he is back.”

In fact, Rainone said George’s right leg will likely be stronger than before, due to over calcification of the bone. George’s leg will have more density, and will be thicker than it was before. Rainone believes with the proper attention, George should start physical therapy in no more than three months, will be walking on his own anywhere from four to six months and will be back on the court anywhere from eight to 12 months.

Until then, the pundits will continue to weigh in, alerting everyone how dangerous and unnecessary it is to have NBA All-Stars playing for Team USA – the same people who will be cheering for the men’s national team in about a month in Spain.

*shoulder shrug*

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